You can’t have your cake and eat it! Since when you eat it, it will be in your stomach and you will no longer be able to “have it”. Quite an interesting figure of speech, but it so well describes how we can want something and yet want something else too. Or alternatively, want something, yet not want what goes with it.
It explains how we will want adulthood, but not the responsibilities that go with it. How we will want independence, but crave a support structure. How we will want chocolate, but not the calories. Want the figure, but not the gym. The list goes on. One side of the coin, implies the other.
One such situation is delighting in the fact that our “citizenship is in heaven,” (Ephesians 3:20-21) and that Jesus has gone ahead to prepare a place for us (John 14:2). We know that heaven is our eternity and our sojourn here on earth is temporary. We look forward to the day we will be face-to-face with our King and look forward to the words: “come and enter into your Masters’ happiness.” (Matt 25:21 and 23)
But that same citizenship implies responsibilities as a citizen.
Every citizen to every country has responsibility to abide by the law of a country, pay taxes and be prepared to protect their country. It is no different in Heaven, though often ignored, that we also have a Bill of Citizen rights and responsibilities.
What are our responsibilities as heavenly kingdom subjects?
- We must give full authority to the King and follow His decrees. He holds all authority over the world and has to have final say in our life and final judgement. (Whatever we build up, will be tested by fire. 1 Cor 3:11-15) In Matt 28:18 Jesus says that “all authority under heaven has been given to me” and then decrees “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, teaching them and baptizing them…”
- We must encourage others and be aware that final judgement has an appointed time by God. Phil 2:8-11 tells of Jesus’ authority and His right to judge all of mankind. Each one of us will stand before God and give account of our lives. (Hebrews 4:13, Romans 14:12) In the world we live in, all is not fair, and we will have trouble (John 16:33) but we as citizens of heaven take comfort and impetus from the fact that all that is evident and hidden, will be judged.
- We need to be faithful on earth in our training for reigning: we are sons and daughters of the King, citizens of heaven that live by a different culture to our world. We are to reign on earth (Rev 5:10) as training for our inheritance in heaven (1 Peter 1:4) as well as our reward (Luke 6:23). Looking at the parable of the Minas (Luke 19:11-27) it is clear that as believers we are all entrusted with the same, and will be rewarded based on our stewardship and service to that which is placed in our hands.
- We must stay loyal to Him as our King and maintain Him as Lord of our lives. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3:15 “…but in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.” In Rom 10:9 we are to declare and believe in our hearts that “Christ is Lord”. Phil 2:12 tells us to “work out your salvation” and 1 Timothy6:12 – we are told to “fight the good fight”.
So, how you doing? Will your entrance into heaven be greeted with “Well done my good and faithful servant,” and then, “now enter into your Masters happiness?”
We cannot take God’s love without accepting His judgement. We cannot take up citizenship without responsibility.
You cannot have your cake and eat it.
Lord help me to remember that you have entrusted me with so much, including my salvation and particularly the good news. Help me to be aware of my responsibilities as a citizen of heaven, for they will take all my focus and energy in being a good citizen. Forgive me for the times I have celebrated my salvation and redemption, but failed to pay attention to my responsibilities.